|Alex, age 7|
"When I was 3 years old, I went into cardiac arrest and was in the hospital for a long time. Even though I can’t jump, I can still raise money so doctors can help people with sick hearts get better."
|Bianca, age 11|
"When I was 1 month old doctors discovered that I had a hole in my heart. They called it a VSD (ventricular septal defect). This meant that I had to go to the cardiologist alot and they performed a lot of tests. When I was 7 years old, I had open-heart surgery so that blood would flow through my body. I was terrified. But my heart condition does not stop me. I play soccer and am involved in our church choir."
|Cash, age 5|
"Before I was born, the doctors told my mom and dad that I had a heart condition called narrowing of the pulmonary valve. I was going to be fine, but I was going to need to visit a cardiologist a lot my first year of life. I’m not the only one in my family who has a special heart — my dad has the same special heart as me. He had surgery when he was 15 years old to repair his pulmonary valve. My cardiologist has compared my charts to my dad's and he seems to think I will never have to have surgery. I still visit my cardiologist at least once a year. I also have to eat right and get plenty of exercise and rest. Having a special heart does not slow me down. I play soccer, basketball and baseball and I love to ride my bike and skateboard. I’m excited that my heart is doing very well. I wish that all kids could have the same outcome as me."
|Cassidy, age 11|
Cassidy is in the 5th grade. Before Cassidy was born doctors told her parents that she had a two-vessel umbilical cord. This meant that one vessel was missing and Cassidy was collecting blood around her heart. Once they cut the umbilical cord, she would go into cardiac arrest and most likely die. When the day came, they cut her cord and they worked on her two-pound, 12-inch frame for four hours before she was revived and put on life support. Cassidy had mitral valve regurgitation and needed surgery. Another surgery was performed to repair an atrial septal defect. Cassidy had 10 heart attacks during that year, but doctors finally made the decision that she could go home. Over the next five years, Cassidy suffered three more heart attacks, but today she is doing well. She doesn't dwell on the fact that she was never expected to walk or talk, or even survive.
|Didem, age 10|
"I was born with a hole in my heart. Days after my third heart surgery I was throwing snowballs at my parents. I feel better and healthier with my heart all fixed."
|Katherine, age 11|
"My parents found out I had heart disease when I wasn’t even 1 month old. I’ve had a total of 14 surgeries and procedures. This heart defect really changed my life because I couldn’t do what all the other kids do, like recess and gym. But if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be able to share my story. I will need surgeries every couple of years but I’m doing a lot better. I do have checkups every couple of months and I take a lot of medicine every day."
|Diego, age 9|
"When I was 6, I started having pain in my legs. I had surgery on July 12, 2011. Now, almost one year later, I am a new kid with a working heart. And I can tell my story to help raise money for other kids."
|Kaylee, age 11|
At 6 years old, Kaylee had heart surgery to repair a hole. Her incision went from left to right, horizontally. She named it “her rainbow scar.”
|Diego, age 8|
"I’ve always known that my heart is different. You have four pieces of your heart and my two bottom pieces are switched. I have to take a pill every night for my heart. Doctors are going to switch the two bottom pieces of my heart around. I try to do things to help my heart stay healthy. My mom makes healthy oatmeal for my breakfast and I eat healthy dinners. I play soccer, basketball and football too. The American Heart Association helps people like me with different hearts so doctors can find cures for kids like me!"
Landon, age 8
Landon had his first surgery when he was one week old. His most recent surgery was done just before he turned five. He is doing great now. Those who know he has had so many surgeries say you would never know anything had been wrong just by looking at him. Landon and his brothers love participating in Jump Rope For Heart and Hoops For Heart every year.
|Jada, age 9|
"When I was two days old doctors discovered a narrowing in one of the major arteries in my heart. Today my heart is healthy and I raise money for Jump Rope For Heart every year!"
|Mason, age 11|
"My mom and dad were told I would need a valve replacement when I am older. I want everyone to support the American Heart Association so that when the time comes for my surgery new technologies will be available to me."
|Layla, age 6|
Hours after she was born, an angioplasty revealed Layla’s aorta was pinched much like an hourglass. She needed open-heart surgery for a better chance to survive. A generation ago, someone born with Layla’s condition might not have lived to start Kindergarten. Thanks to research funded by the American Heart Association, Layla will be blowing out candles for many years to come.
|Ther, age 17|
"I am a sophomore at a school for the deaf and the blind. I was the kicker and wide receiver for the varsity football team. I remember getting tackled and then I woke up at the hospital. They told me I had collapsed on the field. The athletic trainer used CPR and an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) to get my heart beating again. I needed surgery, and a defibrillator was implanted to help my heart work. The operation was successful and after several weeks I was able to return to school. I was so happy to be back with my friends and teachers."
|Mackenzie, age 8|
"I will be getting surgery this summer to fix my heart. After surgery, I will be just like before, only better. I have been doing Jump Rope For Heart since kindergarten to raise money for kids like me."
|Rasheem, age 13|
Rasheem has ventricular tachycardia and there is a duo chamber pacemaker implanted in his chest. His heart beats very slowly, which keeps him from playing sports or participating in PE. Every year he attends Whole Heart Camp where he can meet other kids who have heart disease.
|Mia, age 4|
"My family calls me Miracle Mia because I have a very special heart. I’ve survived two heart surgeries and lots of visits to the hospital. I will always have to visit my cardiologist for check-ups and I’ll need more heart surgeries as I grow bigger. I am very thankful for all the Heart Heroes who participate in these events. I know that there are a lot of people who care and want the best for kids with special hearts."